ERIC Number: ED468835
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
The Assembly: A Tool for Transforming Communities.
Anderson, Donald L.
Conventional anti-poverty efforts have failed because they have not created the structures for the poor to help themselves, and they are designed and controlled by people outside of the affected communities. Introduced in 1968 by the National Association of the Southern Poor, the Assembly is a non-political structure that organizes community members into a systematic relationship with one another to solve individual and community problems. Under an Assembly organization, a county or city is organized into districts of manageable size--50 people--called conferences. Each conference elects one representative who stays in touch with the conference through seven committee members, each of whom stays in contact with six other conference members. Representatives meet at a community-wide Assembly. Citizens bring their problems to regularly held conference meetings for discussion by the group and creative problem-solving. The problems are written down and passed on to the representative. Problems that cannot be resolved by the representative are passed on to the executive council, which is made up of chairpersons assigned to such areas as employment, social services, housing, and education. Forty-one counties and two cities in Virginia and North Carolina have organized assemblies, and examples are given of successes they have achieved, including registering voters, getting assembly leaders on local governing boards, improving educational systems and infrastructure, implementing creative senior citizen and health care programs, and even influencing statewide elections. (TD)
Descriptors: Community Action, Community Development, Community Organizations, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Empowerment, Participative Decision Making, Poverty, Self Determination, Social Change
E. F. Schumacher Society, 140 Jug End Rd., Great Barrington, MA 01230 ($5). For full text: http://www.schumachersociety.org/lec-and.html.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: J. M. Kaplan Fund, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Schumacher (E. F.) Society, Great Barrington, MA.
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina; Virginia